A Food Factory in Hong Kong the Source of Many Food Poisoning Cases
Officials of the Centre for Food Safety (CFS) of the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) of Hong Kong have discovered a link between various food poisoning cases from sandwiches and an unlicensed food factory located in Hong Kong.
The CFS ordered an investigation be conducted at the retail store associated with the factory, in Tsuen Wan, after several clusters of food poisoning cases occurred in relation to sandwiches sold there.
The first cluster of food poisoning cases affected four females, between the ages of 6 and 54, who consumed sandwiches with meat produced from the unlicensed factory. The women reported having developed symptoms of food poisoning, including stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever, within 8 to 12 hours of eating sandwiches from the retail store in Tsuen Wan.
The second cluster affected three women between the ages of 5 to 34 with similar symptoms as mentioned above, only this time, all the women experienced the adverse effects within 7 to 14 hours of consumption of sandwiches from the same retail store.
Out of these two affected groups, all of the women sought medical attention, however, it was not necessary to hospitalize anyone.
Finally, the third cluster of food poisoning cases related to this brand of sandwiches, which was discovered by the CFS, was a group of 5 males and 15 females between the ages of 1 and 68. All of the people affected reported having the onset of symptoms as early as 4 hours and as late as 43 hours after eating a sandwich from the concerned brand. 16 of the people in this cluster sought medical attention and 5 were hospitalized, although all of them are now stable.
The CFS promptly responded to this outbreak by going to the retail store and factory to take samples for testing and to advise that they halt the further production of the sandwiches. Shortly afterwards, a follow-up investigation conducted by the CFS revealed that the factory was unlicensed. The FEHD has begun prosecution of the factory and its management and any further production has been halted. Under the Food Business Regulation Law (CAP 132X), the maximum fine for operating a unlicensed food factory is a $50,000 fine (HK) and 6 month imprisonment. The case remains under investigation.